Markets optimistic over Italy-EU deal and Silicon Valley results

Market close: Iseq keeps pace with European peers

World stock markets and oil prices climbed on Wednesday, with earnings and gains in tech stocks lifting shares on Wall Street and Europe, while the euro rose on hopes Italy and the European Commission would reach a compromise on a dispute over Italy's 2019 budget draft.


The Iseq finished the day up 1.3 per cent as the Dublin market kept pace with European peers.

AIB rose from almost record lows to finish the session on €3.78 and ahead by 0.8 per cent, having been ahead by as much as 1.6 per cent earlier in the afternoon. The surge was sparked by the news that AIB is about to sell a €1 billion portfolio of distressed loans.

Exploration company Aminex fell by more than 5 per cent to 1.7 cent per share, after it gave an update on its attempts to offload half of one of its projects in Tanzania. Ryanair surged by 4.3 per cent to €11.91, as the potential threat from a post-Brexit shutdown of flights between the UK and Europe appeared to recede. Smurfit Kappa rose by more than 4 per cent to €25.46, after Exane BNP Paribas initiated coverage with a broadly positive research note.



The blue-chip FTSE 100 ended up 1.5 per cent, snapping three days of losses and outperforming its euro zone peers. The FTSE 250 closed up 1.2 per cent.

Johnson Matthey topped the blue chip leader board, surging 13 per cent for its best day in just over a year and hitting its highest since October 10th after delivering an increase in first-half profits.

NMC Health jumped 8 per cent buoyed by a JPMorgan upgrade. Sage Group managed to claw back from three-year lows to end the day up 2.2 per cent as investors sought bargains, shrugging off the British software provider's warning about slowing growth and a slightly weaker outlook.

B&Q owner Kingfisher fell 3 per cent after reporting weak quarterly sales in France and announcing plans to exit Russia, Spain and Portugal, which raised questions over its plan to increase profit.


The French Cac rose by just over 1 per cent while the German Dax was ahead by 1.61 per cent. Italian banks rose as much as 2.6 per cent after a report said deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini might be open to reviewing the government's 2019 budget, fuelling hopes the country could avert a clash with the European Commission.

Top gainer among Italian banks was Milan-based Banco BMP, which rallied 7.6 per cent, while heavyweight lenders Intesa Sanpaolo and UniCredit rose 2.8 and 1.8 per cent respectively.

Shares in Swedish medical equipment firm Getinge rose 10.8 per cent as traders said its capital markets day alleviated some of analysts' and investors' concerns. The shares are down 26 per cent year-to-date amid profit warnings.


Apple, which had lost 7.5 per cent in the first two days of the week, rose slightly. Foot Locker shares surged 15.4 per cent after the footwear retailer's quarterly same-store sales trumped expectations and boosted other sports retailers with Dick's Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports rising about 3 per cent. Shares of Nike, a Foot Locker supplier, gained 1.6 per cent.

Gap rose 3.5 per cent, reversing earlier losses after a number of Wall Street brokerages said the company's planned closure of underperforming stores could eliminate significant losses. Both Foot Locker and Gap helped boost the S&P consumer discretionary index, making it the top gainer among the 11 major S&P indexes.

The pressure on technology stocks appeared to have eased, with the FAANG group – Facebook, Apple, Amazon. com, Netflix and Alphabet – gaining between 0.2 per cent and 3 per cent.

Autodesk jumped 9.3 per cent after the software company reported third-quarter results ahead of analysts' estimates and announced an $875 million deal to buy cloud-based software company PlanGrid.

(Additional reporting: Reuters/Bloomberg)

Mark Paul

Mark Paul

Mark Paul is London Correspondent for The Irish Times